Pakistan: blasphemy laws blamed for the violence against Christians

JP: More on the Pakistani Blasphemy Laws

Pakistani Christians Give Gov’t Ultimatum on Blasphemy Laws

Excerpt:

“We urge President Asif Zardari to repeal blasphemy law by an executive order immediately. If government fails to repeal blasphemy law up till September 15, 2009 … Christians shall be forced to launch a movement against government of Pakistan: Pakistan Christian Congress PCC,” said Pakistan Christian Post, which has been at the forefront of calling for the repeal of blasphemy laws in the country.

According to amendments added in the 1980s, “Use of derogatory remarks, etc; in respect of the Holy Prophet; whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC), a political party launched by Pakistani Christians, has blamed the 1986 blasphemy law for the violence against the Christian community. “On several occasions, on the pretext of blasphemy, Christians have been attacked, pastors and priests arrested, women raped and homes burnt,” PCC has said.

Under the protection of these controversial laws, Muslims have regularly attacked Christians with impunity in Pakistan. And often the motivation for the attack is over monetary disputes or other everyday disagreements. Muslims would use the blasphemy laws, which do not require evidence, to escape any punishment for attacking their fellow citizen.

PCC noted that prior to 1980 there were almost no allegations of blasphemy.

In the past two months alone there were four attacks against Christians which prompted an international outcry. PCC called for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.

Image source: (Photo: Bambino Images/flickr)

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